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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 OCTOBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 OCTOBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Jet streams and Indian monsoons”

1) Explain the influence of jet streams on South West Monsoon in India?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out what jet streams are and the impact different jet streams have on South west monsoons in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what jet streams are.

Body – Discuss how Subtropical westerly jet stream, tropical easterly jet stream and Somalia low level jet stream impact monsoons in India.

  • Subtropical westerly jet stream – responsible for the onset of monsoon. Explain how
  • Tropical westerly jet stream – This jet stream is oriented along the Kolkata-Bangalore axis in that direction. It controls the spread of the South West Monsoon. When it is strong, it opposes the spread of the South West monsoon and when it is weak, it allows the spread of South West monsoon
  • Somalia low level jet stream – When it is weak, it results in formation of a monsoonal break called the “lull” in the monsoon and when it is strong, the monsoon will also be strong.

 

Background:-

  • Timing:A timely northward shift of the subtropical westerly jet at the beginning of summer is critical to the onset of the southwest monsoon over India. If the shift is delayed, so is the southwest monsoon. An early shift results in an early monsoon.
  • Strength:The strength of the southwest monsoon is determined by the strength of the easterly tropical jet over central India. A strong easterly tropical jet results in a strong southwest monsoon over central India, and a weak jet results in a weak monsoon.
  • According to jet stream theory
    • The onset of the southwest monsoon is driven by the shift of the subtropical westerly jet north from over the plains of India toward the Tibetan Plateau. This shift is due to the intense heating of the plateau during the summer months. The northward shift is not a slow and gradual process, as expected for most changes in weather pattern.
    • The primary cause is believed to be the height of the Himalayas. As the Tibetan Plateau heats up, the low pressure created over it pulls the westerly jet north. Because of the lofty Himalayas, the westerly jet’s movement is inhibited.
    • But with continuous dropping pressure, sufficient force is created for the movement of the westerly jet across the Himalayas after a significant period. As such, the shift of the jet is sudden and abrupt, causing the bursting of southwest monsoon rains onto the Indian plains. The reverse shift happens for the northeast monsoon.
  • Subtropical Jet Stream (STJ) and Inter Tropical Convergence Zone:-
    • As the summer time approaches, there is increased solar heating of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau.
    • In the peak summer months (25th of May – 10th of Jun), with the apparent northward movement of the sun, the southern branch of the SJT, which flows to the south of the Himalayas, shifts to the north of the Himalayas.
    • When the sun’s position is about to reach the Tropic of Cancer (June), the SJT shifts to the north of the Tibetan Plateau (1st of Jun – 20th of June). The ITCZ is close to its peak position over the Tibetan Plateau.
    • The altitude of the mountains initially disrupts the jet but once it has cleared the summits it is able to reform over central Asia.
    • Its movement towards the north is one of the main features associated with the onset of the monsoon over India.
    • With the northward shift of SJT, an Easterly Jet is formed over the Indian plains. It generally forms in the first week of June and lasts till late October.
    • It can be traced in the upper troposphere right up to the west coast of Africa.
    • The northward shift of SJT and ICTZ moves the subtropical high pressure belt to the north of the Tibetan Plateau and the Easterly Jet creates a low pressure region in the Indian plains (Easterly Jet creates anticyclonic conditions in upper troposphere).
    • This low pressure in the northern plains coupled with the intense low of the Tibetan Plateau leads to the sudden onset of south-west monsoons (1st of Jun – 20th of June).
    • The monsoon cell is situated between the Indian Ocean (North of Madagascar)(High Pressure Cell) and Tibetan plateau (Low Pressure Cell).
    • In summer the sub-tropical easterly jet fluctuates between the plains region of India and peninsular India varying the intensity of rainfall from location to location.
    • During March to May, the building up of this cell is blocked by the STJ which tends to blow to the south of the Himalayas (Northwest India and Plains region are occupied by Subtropical High Pressure Belt. This high pressure belt undermines the influence of low pressure cell over Tibet).
    • As long as the STJ is in this position the development of summer monsoons is inhibited (the high pressure belt stays over north India).
    • With the STJ out of the way (high pressure belt migrates to the north of Tibet) the sub continental monsoon cell develops (Somali Jet) very quickly indeed, often in a matter of a few days.
    • Warmth and moisture are fed into the cell by a lower level tropical jet stream which brings with it air masses laden with moisture from the Indian Ocean.
    • The end of the monsoon season is brought about when the atmosphere over the Tibetan Plateau begins to cool (August – October), this enables the STJ to transition back across the Himalayas.
    • With the southward shift of ITCZ, subtropical high pressure belt returns back to the Indian plains and the rainfall ceases.
    • This leads to the formation of a anticyclonic winter monsoon cell typified by sinking air masses over India and relatively moisture free winds that blow seaward.
    • This gives rise to relatively settled and dry weather over India during the winter months.
  • Tropical Easterly Jet (African Easterly Jet):-
    • TEJ comes into existence quickly after the STJ has shifted to the north of the Himalayas (Early June).
    • TEJ flows from east to west over peninsular India at 6 – 9 km and over the Northern African region.
    • The formation of TEJ results in the reversal of upper air circulation patterns [High pressure switches to low pressure]and leads to the quick onset of monsoons.
    • Recent observations have revealed that the intensity and duration of heating of Tibetan Plateau has a direct bearing on the amount of rainfall in India by the monsoons.
    • When the summer temperature of air over Tibet remains high for a sufficiently long time, it helps in strengthening the easterly jet and results in heavy rainfall in India.
    • The easterly jet does not come into existence if the snow over the Tibet Plateau does not melt. This hampers the occurrence of rainfall in India.
    • Therefore, any year of thick and widespread snow over Tibet will be followed by a year of weak monsoon and less rainfall.
  • Somali Jet (Findlater Jet):-
    • Polar and subtropical jet streams are the permanent jet streams which greatly influence the weather of temperate regions.
    • Temporary jet streams are narrow winds with speeds more than 94 kph in the upper, middle and sometimes in lower troposphere. They are few. Important ones are Somali Jet and The African Easterly jet or Tropical Easterly Jet.
    • These two jet streams play an important role in the formation and progression of Indian Monsoons.
    • The progress of the southwest monsoon towards India is greatly aided by the onset of Somali jet that transits Kenya, Somalia and Sahel.
    • It was observed to flow from Mauritius and the northern part of the island of Madagascar before reaching the coast of Kenya at about 3º S.
    • It strengthens permanent high near Madagascar and also helps to drive S-W monsoons towards India at a greater pace and intensity.
    • The importance of the low level jet arises from the fact that its path around 9º N coincides with a zone of coastal upwelling.
    • As the strong winds drive away the surface coastal waters towards the east, extremely cold water from the depths of the sea rise upwards to preserve the continuity of mass.
    • The peculiar feature of Somali Current is reversal in direction with the onset of the summer monsoon.
    • In winter, this current is from north to the south running southwards from the coast of Arabia to the east African coastline; but with the advent of the summer monsoon it reverses its direction and flows from the south to the north.

General Studies – 2


Topic: India and its bilateral relations

2) Discuss how Nepal China Transit Agreement would impact relations with India?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Nepal has recently signed the trade and transit agreement with China. Post the blockade in 2016 which had immense impact on socio economic and political life in Nepal , Nepal has been looking to diversify its transit routes. The China factor in India Nepal relations always needles and hence this question would enable us to understand the details of the transit agreement and its impact on bilateral relations.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to answer the following points :

  • Details of the agreement
  • How far this agreement would impact India’s place in Nepal’s transit requirement considering cost and other such factors
  • Whether Nepal’s closeness to China , should be a matter of worry for India
  • Future of India Nepal bilateral relations

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give details and background into the transit treaty signed between China and Nepal.

Body

  • Give details of the transit agreement signed between China and Nepal
  • Discuss the pros and cons of this agreement for Nepal, the article provides a detailed description of the same
  • Examine whether and how the treaty would impact Nepal’s relations with India vis a vis india
  • Discuss how should India respond to this development and the way forward for India

Conclusion – Emphasize on the importance of maintaining parity with china in south Asia considering China’s explicit strategy of boxing India in south Asia and suggest way forward for India.

 

Background:-

  • Nepal’s quest for an alternate transit country with a view to reducing its dependence on India succeeded with the finalisation of the text for the Protocol of Transit Transport Agreement with China in September 2018. 

Nepal China transit agreement:-

  • As per this text, China formally agreed to provide seven transit points– four sea ports (Tianjin (Xingang), Shenzhen, Lianyungang, Zhanjiang) and three land ports (Lanzhou, Lhasa, Xigatse) – to Nepal for trade with third countries. 
  • China will provide permits to trucks and containers ferrying Nepal-bound cargo to and from Xigatse in Tibet.
  • Nepali traders will be allowed to use any mode of transport— rail or road – to access the sea ports as well as dry ports.
  • Both sides also agreed on access to Chinese territory from six checkpoints in Nepal.
  • The transport arrangements and dry ports could be used for bilateral trade purposes as well.
  • Interestingly, the protocol does not mention anything about Nepal’s overland access to the Central Asian and European markets.

Implications for Nepal:-

  • Benefits:-
    • Nepal’s dependence on India for third-country trading would end, resulting in Nepal facilitating its trade through Chinese seas and land ports. 
    • By signing trade and transit agreement with China, Nepal has got right to access to the Chinese sea port in Guangzhou. With this development, the country will now be able to trade with third countries through this port. Hitherto, Nepal had to rely solely on Kolkata port of India for the purpose.
    • The transit protocol does not specify paths, allowing Nepal to choose viable routes. Additionally, more ports and dry ports can be added without amending treaty and trucks with Nepali number plates may go all the way to Shigatse (Xigatse) railhead to pick up goods.
  • Constraints:-
    • Although the Lanzhou-Kyirong-Kathmandu (LKM) route takes less time than the Shanghai-Kolkata-Birgunj route, the LKM route gives Nepalese traders access only to the western industrial zones/commercial hubs of China whereas Nepalese traders mostly import goods from China’s south eastern industrial cities.
    • Nepal’s northern trading routes are not viable for carrying bulk goods like raw minerals and oil due to the mountainous terrain. Despite the TTA with China, Nepali traders do not consider the northern corridor as a viable alternative to the southern corridor. 
    • Not only in the Himalayan region but even globally, there is no history of container freight movement [by railways] at such high altitudes due to environmental issues.
    • The technical challenges will further determine the carrying capacity of the track and the cost of such transportation 
    • Frequent landslides and poor road conditions on the Nepali side up to Kyirong could affect regular trade. 
    • Despite having a transit agreement, China would prefer that limited use be made of those routes or ports by Nepal, because of the following concerns.
    • It appears that the Chinese are comfortable with the BCIM corridor .China is also not comfortable about reviving the entire (south-west silk route) SSR, which runs in an oval shape from Kunming to Kunming via Kolkata-Kathmandu-Lhasa-Shangri-La-Kunming. It is believed that the Chinese do not want multiple trading routes going through Tibet. 
    • Time and transport cost of carrying goods between Nepal and Guangzhou would be exorbitant. 
    • Even if China supplies oil to Nepal, it will prove costlier than importing from India on account of the geographical factor. 

Implications for India :-

  • Concerns:-
    • Till now almost all of Nepal’s trade passed through India’s Kolkata port, but that might change
    • India’s special relationship with Nepal might fade off eventually impacting social and political linkages as well
    • Chinese influence:-
      • As per the transit treaty with China, Nepal has now secured transit rights for trade with third countries through the Chinese territory
      • China decided to supply petroleum products to Nepal, apart from building petroleum storage facilities in this country.
      • Nepal went ahead recently and finalised an ambitious connectivity proposal that will eventually link Kathmandu to Shigatse by rail. This will give Nepali goods access to Chinese sea-ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang, and land ports in Lanzhou, Lhasa and Shigatse.
      • China will make inroads in Nepal and pose security threat to India.

Way forward:-

  • Completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship:-
    • India must recognise that as in all other developing economies, Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities, and its  desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively. 
  • People-to-people inter-dependence must lead the relationship along with civil society and business-commercial level interactions.
  • India’s major foray should be in innovation and technology transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, educational and technical institutions, local and global migration management and skills and capacity-building.
  • India needs to finish the infrastructure projects on time for instance Pancheswar project has been pending for over 20 years now. 
  • Nepal could be the fountainhead of climate change knowledge and connect to India’s larger dynamics of the management of the ecology of hills and mountains.
  • Effective delivery on the pending projects, the remaining ICPs, the five railway connections, postal road network in the Terai and the petroleum pipeline so that connectivity is enhanced and the idea of ‘inclusive development and prosperity’ assumes reality.
  • India needs to formulate a comprehensive and long-term Nepal policy.
  • India needs to revitalize communication with Nepal, respecting each other’s sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.

Topic–  Indian polity : Issues

3) Supreme Court ending the Sabarimala ban is a triumph of constitutional morality over regressive social and religious practices. Critically examine. (250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The recent verdict of SC in Sabarimala case is another instance of SC stepping in to correct the discriminatory social and religious practices that are violative of part III of our Constitution. Analyzing this verdict, the reasons given by the court and examining the debates raised by the issue is to be prepared for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the verdict of the court in Sabarimala case and discuss the constitutional principles which the court deemed were violated by the religious custom. We need to bring out the pros and cons of the verdict along with the arguments given in the dissenting judgement that the tenets of secularism as enshrined in the constitution validates even the irrational practices of a religion. Post analysis, a fair and balanced opinion is to be provided along with way forward.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the verdict of SC in Sabarimala case. Supreme Court has struck down the centuries-old ban on the entry of women aged 10-50 at the temple—this ban had been given legal sanction under the Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 —as unconstitutional.

Body – Discuss the arguments given by the court in striking down the centuries old practice Discuss how the practice was violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. Discuss the dissenting view which gives primacy to religious freedom under Article 25. Discuss the other associated social issues – like the issue of gender equality, patriarchy etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the verdict and discuss way forward.

 

Background:-

  • The Supreme Court has struck down the ban on the entry of women aged 10-50 at the Sabarimala temple.
  • This ban had been given legal sanction under the Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 as unconstitutional. SC held that exclusion on grounds of biological, physiological features are discriminatory.

How is SC judgement a triumph of constitutional morality over regressive practices:-

  • Social modernisation, especially with respect to ending discriminatory traditions, is a goal that all societies must aspire for. To that end, the law catalysing change is desirable and the judgement provides that.
  • Religion cannot be cover to deny women right to worship. To treat women as children of lesser God is to blink at Constitutional morality.
  • Until now, most cases involving a bar of entry into temples have involved a testing of laws made in furtherance of Article 25(2)(b).
    • For example, in Sri Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore (1958), the Supreme Court examined the validity of the Madras Temple Entry Authorisation Act of 1947, which was introduced with a view to removing the disabilities imposed by custom or usage on certain classes of Hindus against entry into a Hindu temple. 
    • The court upheld the law on the ground that statutes made under clause 2(b) to Article 25 served as broad exceptions to the freedom of religion guaranteed by both Articles 25 and 26.
  • Activists claim that not allowing women into the temple is violation of women’s rights
    • Discrimination based on biological reasons is not permissible going by the constitutional scheme.
    • They maintain that due to the current exclusion, the right of women to worship the deity, Ayyappa, is violated.
  • Exclusion is a form of ‘untouchability’ since the exclusion is solely based on notions of purity and impurity. But this argument was resisted on the contention that the prohibition of untouchability was historically intended only to protect the interests of the backward classes. The claim is that the makers of the Constitution never envisioned including women within the ambit of untouchability.

Negatives:-

  • Some activists criticize that the judgment should have considered the sentiments of the devotees.
  • While Hinduism is not monolithic, each temple has its own traditions on account of social and historical reasons.
  • Since the deity Lord Ayyapan is a celibate, the entry of menstruating women inside the temple cannot be allowed, argues the temple Board.

General Studies – 3


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Inflation”

4) Explain the difference between demand pull and cost push inflation? Discuss whether inflation is invariably bad for economy? (250 words) 

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the difference between cost push and demand pull inflation and do a critical analysis of the impact of inflation.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what inflation is.

Body – Explain the difference between the demand pull and cost push inflation and do a critical analysis of the impact of inflation such as decline in relative competitiveness, depreciation in Exchange Rate, socio economic impacts etc, Phillips curve etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view of the impact of inflation on economy.

Cost-Push Inflation:-

  • When there is a decrease in the aggregate supply of goods and services stemming from an increase in the cost of production, we have cost-push inflation.
  • Cost-push inflation means prices have been “pushed up” by increases in costs of any of the four factors of production (labor, capital, land or entrepreneurship) when companies are already running at full production capacity.
  • With higher production costs and productivity maximized, companies cannot maintain profit margins by producing the same amounts of goods and services. As a result, the increased costs are passed on to consumers, causing a rise in the general price level (inflation).
  • If the cost of labor, a factor of production, increases, the company has to allocate more resources to pay for the creation of its goods or services.
    • To maintain or increase profit margins, the company passes the increased costs of production on to the consumer, making retail prices higher.
    • Along with increasing sales, increasing prices is a way for companies to increase their bottom linesand grow.
  • Another factor that can cause increases in production costs is a rise in the price of raw materials. This could occur because of scarcityof raw materials, an increase in the cost of labor to produce the raw materials, or an increase in the cost of importing raw materials. The government may also increase taxes to cover higher fuel and energy costs, forcing companies to allocate more resources to paying taxes.

Demand-Pull Inflation

  • Demand-pull inflation occurs when there is an increase in aggregate demand, categorized by the four sections of the macroeconomy: households, businesses, governments and foreign buyers.
  • When these four sectors concurrently want to purchase more output than the economy can produce, they compete to purchase limited amounts of goods and services. Buyers, in essence, “bid prices up” again, causing inflation. This excessive demand, also referred to as “too much money chasing too few goods,” usually occurs in an expanding economy.
  • The increase in aggregate demand that causes demand-pull inflation can be the result of various economic dynamics.
    • For example, an increase in government purchases can increase aggregate demand, thus pulling up prices.
    • Another factor can be the depreciation of local exchange rates, which raises the price of imports and, for foreigners, reduces the price of exports. As a result, the purchasing of imports decreases while the buying of exports by foreigners increases, thereby raising the overall level of aggregate demand
    • Rapid overseas growth can also ignite an increase in demand as more exports are consumed by foreigners.
    • Finally, if a government reduces taxes, households are left with more disposable income in their pockets. This, in turn, leads to increased consumer spending, thus increasing aggregate demand and eventually causing demand-pull inflation.
    • The results of reduced taxes can lead also to growing consumer confidence in the local economy, which further increases aggregate demand.

Differences:-

  • The demand-pull inflation is when the aggregate demand is more than the aggregate supply in an economy, whereas cost push inflation is when the aggregate demand is same and the fall in aggregate supply due to external factors will result in increased price level. 
  • Demand-pull inflation arises when the aggregate demand increases at a faster rate than aggregate supply. Cost-Push Inflation is a result of an increase in the price of inputs due to the shortage of cost of production, leading to decrease in the supply of outputs.
  • Demand-pull inflation describes, how price inflation begins. On the other hand, cost-push inflation explains Why inflation is so difficult to stop, once started.
  • The reason for demand-pull inflation is the increase in money supply, government spending and foreign exchange rates. Conversely, cost-push inflation is mainly caused by the monopolistic groups of the society.
  • The policy recommendation on demand-pull inflation is associated with the monetary and fiscal measure which amounts to the high level of unemployment. Unlike, cost push inflation, where policy recommendation is related to administrative control on price rise and income policy, whose objective is to control inflation without increasing unemployment.

Inflation is good/bad for the economy:-

  • Inflation is a relative concept, the utility of which varies from economy to economy. It is good for some economies whereas it is bad for some.
  • Lower inflation means lower aggregate demand in an economy. Due to lower demand in these developed economies, they are not witnessing growth. Hence they are targeting for higher inflation.
  • Under normal circumstances, ‘moderate’ inflation is good for any economy. Since inflation simply means Demand is greater than Supply, which means the overall consumption in an economy is rising.
  • Rise in demand will cause increase in production. Because of which profits of companies would increase (more sales=more profits). When companies would earn more profits, there will also be hike in wages of workers as incentive. Hence standard of living of workers will improve. Which ultimately means the economy is prospering.
  • However, extreme situations are detrimental for any economy. Neither excessive inflation is good nor deflation (fall in prices) is good.
    • When there is excessive inflation, which means that goods are getting very expensive, this will reduce aggregate demand for products in the economy. This will cause fall in profits of companies (or even losses). Because of which there might be reduction in wages of workers or even lay offs. Which will cause the economy to shrink.
    • On the other hand, deflation has similar effect. Deflation looks good from consumers point of view. However, that is not so. There is deflation in an economy when Supply is greater than Demand. Because of lack of demand, companies will not produce goods, which will cause fall in wages & ultimately reduction in aggregate demand (since purchasing power of people will fall because of fall in wages). This again causes shrinking of economy.
  • So, to conclude, every economy strives to achieve ‘moderate’ inflation. Inflation might be good or bad depending on economic scenario of that country.

Topic –  Disaster and disaster management

5) Despite the looming threat of natural disasters over several parts of the country, most of our cities are ill prepared to deal with such exigencies. Examine and suggest improvements that can be made?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

 

Why this question

This article talks about the reasons why Indian cities are ill equipped to deal with the challenges posed by disasters. With the intensity and frequency of natural calamities increasing, it is imperative for Indian cities to prepare a strategy for minimising losses to life and property. This question expects us to ponder upon these aspects.

Key demand of the question

This question expects us to explain the disaster risk profile of the country, reasons why despite such high risk our preparation in preparing for such disasters and dealing with its aftermath is poor. Finally, we need to give suggestions for improvement in status quo.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight some of the recent disasters and the growing threats to cities from the wrath of nature.

Body

  • Elaborate on the claim that there is a looming threat of disasters over several part of the country – briefly explain the disaster map of India and the regions which are under the threat of earthquakes, cyclones, floods , new phenomena such as urban floods etc.
  • Highlight the reasons why they are ill equipped to deal with such disasters – most city government still grapple with basis day to day issues, multiplicity of authorities etc in bigger cities etc. Discuss the issues with our disaster management strategy.
  • Give suggestions as to how to deal with the impending threat of disasters and be prepared to deal with them – Discuss the guidelines suggested by Sendai framework, suggestions given by 2nd ARC report on disaster management etc

Conclusion – Summarize the status of Indian cities with respect to managing disasters and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • According to the statistics, 68% of India’s land is prone to drought, 60% to earthquakes, 12% to floods and 8% to cyclones, making India one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, affecting overall 85% of Indian land and more than 50 million people.
  • India has been ranked as the sixth most climate change-vulnerable country by the Climate Risk Index 2018.
  • Dealing with current vulnerabilities and projected climate change impacts needs innovative thinking and participatory planning and action.

Common Factors which led to recent devastating floods in various cities and how are they ill equipped to deal with disasters-

  • Vulnerability quotient of many cities is high because they are located in eco-sensitive areas such as coastlines, rivers and floodplains.
  • Lack of governance :-
    • Most city governments struggle to deal with other day-to-day development challenges such as education, infrastructure and health, and so climate resilience and adaptation figure low on their priority list.
    • Big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai have no city resilience plans because there is not just multiplicity of problems but also of authorities, which tend to work in silos whereas climate change cuts across several departments: public health, water, environment, energy, and social justice to name a few. 
  • Lack of financial management :-
    • While the upfront capital costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation are being increasingly well understood, decision making and investment planning are hindered by uncertainty in the indirect costs and lack of simplified and transparent methods for assessing cost-benefit analysis of the steps that a city takes.
    • They are not equipped with the financial management systems and processes required to access climate financing, such as green bonds
  • Lack of awareness:-
    • Lack of active citizens who are informed and engaged on the subject of climate change and sustainability, which is essential to mitigate and build resilience, and demand accountability including transparency and information on livability indicators such as air pollution levels, percentage of garbage segregated, modal share of public transport, walking and cycling.
  • Lack of manpower:-
    • Then there is a shortage of skilled personnel specialised in areas such as environmental engineering transportation, traffic management, disaster management, and related areas.
  • Mismanagement of dams:-
    • For dams to truly tame floods, experts say dam reservoirs need to be relatively empty before the onset of rain. This was not the case in many states.
    • Local officials have been blamed for exacerbating the situation by failing to gradually open the dams dotting the state’s complex river network, waiting instead until they were already full before unleashing the excess water. 
    • More flooding was caused by emergency releases from dams that were full. Despite forecasts of more rain, there were no controlled releases.
    • World Bank analysis while preparing the National Hydrology Project (NHP) in 2015 showed that although weather forecasts are more accurate now, dam managers (especially bureaucrats) are reluctant to authorise advance controlled releases.
  • Roads, railway lines and housing colonies being laid and built without regard for natural water ways, but with formal planning permission.
    • The State Department of Inland Waterways focusses on large waterways while district and local panchayats have no mandate or interest in maintaining these to reduce flood risk.
    • The State Disaster Management Agency also ignores them.
  • Despite India being a signatory to the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, little has changed on the ground.
  • Most modern cities have elaborate flood management plans .But India cannot even protect known flood-plains, tank foreshores and lakes peripheries from encroachment and illegal construction.
  • More than average rainfall:-
    • India’s western coast has received above-average rainfall on account of sustained low-pressure conditions.
  • Land use:-
    • Injudicious use of land is responsible for making states more prone to floods and landslides.
    • However, other factors such as a change in land use patterns and climate change could have contributed to the situation on the ground.
  • Deforestation :-
    • Unfettered development activity had increased the chances of landslides, a major cause of casualties during the floods. 
  • Wetlands have been lostto development projects, construction of roads, and buildings at places too close to rivers.
  • Other issues mentioned such as deforestation, encroachment and unplanned construction are self-evident priorities when development is viewed using the lens of climate-resilient water management (CRWM). 
  • Disaster management constraints:-
    • There is a need to enhance the role of Civil Defense in Disaster Management process and formulating an effective National Plan for Disaster Management.
    • Even now, the communication systems at the local level haven’t been much developed.
    • There are no Standard Operating Procedures for the deployment of National Disaster Response Force.
    • There have been many cases where there has been a relief and rescue mobilization but by the time the teams reach the damage would have already been done.
    • Ignoring all the safety guidelines, dwellings, factories and infrastructure facilities have been constructed in areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards like floods.
    • Disaster management plans exist on paper, but implementation remains a challenge.
      • Despite the emphasis on a paradigm shift to a preparedness approach by the government, most parts of the country continue to follow a relief-centric approach in disaster management, rather than a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness path.
    • Disaster maps and vulnerability profiles by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of the Government of India identify winds and cyclones, earthquakes, and floods as disaster risks. It is unclear if the maps have been updated to include weather and climate extremes and the associated crop losses or loss of lives or health risks.

Suggestions:-

  • River-basin specific flood inundation modelling with climate change simulations is a necessary first step to understand the full impact of potential unprecedented flooding. This includes worst-case scenarios such as twice the maximum historical rainfall, as was recently done by a Department for International Development, U.K.-supported project for the Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh.
  • The second is for the local community to co-manage water resources with the government (by planning intermediate storage, drainage and emergency responses).
  • There must be massive awareness generation, to ensure that airports are not extended into river floodplains ,that road culverts let storm water through without hindrance, and that excess water is not blocked but allowed to saturate the soil strata so that it does not cause mudslides
  • Need to use the best-available information for decision-making. This means improved hydromet systems and weather forecasts, robust modelling of catchment water flows with simulations of different climate-related scenarios, international norms for safety factors and building codes.
  • Must prioritise buffers, flexibility and adaptability. This includes reviewing safety criteria of dams and canals, re-building these with higher safety factors, creating new intermediate storages, and introducing dynamic reservoir management.
  • Flood control can be effected through an Integrated Dam Management System, which is totally computerised and automated, the only exception being lifting and lowering of shutters which has to be done manually. This system which can be called IDMS, has to be evolved and developed independently. 
  • Integrated approach to managing floods requires a sound understanding of the patterns that rivers such as the Ganga and its tributaries display during the monsoon. Governmental understanding of the problem generally relies not so much on advanced techniques such as mapping based on satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems, but on ground-level surveys and anecdotal reporting. This needs to change.
  • There needs to be tougher implementation of logging and mining regulations in fragile ecologies. Deforestation worsened the effects of Kerala’s floods and mudslides, as the report of the Western Ghats ecology expert panel 2011 had warned.
  • Non-structural measures for flood forecasting provide early warning in flood prone areas have proved to be successful for flood management. High-tech warning systems on the ground will not be useful until the authorities, key stakeholders and communities are trained to act upon the information obtained from these facilities.
  • Different stakeholders need to come together for mapping risks, vulnerabilities, and resources, engage in regular preparedness actions like drills and capacity building, develop and update emergency plans, check the availability of resources at the local level and act upon early warning intimations.
  • There is a need for investing in disaster preparedness and mitigation across the country, irrespective of whether any state has been hit by a disaster or not. India needs to adopt a collaborative approach, where the roles of the government, corporations, academia, civil societies and communities are recognised, and all actors work hand-in-hand towards achieving disaster resilience.
  • Disaster recovery frameworks must be robust in terms of pre- and post-disaster initiatives requiring cross-sector collaborations between communities, local, state and central governments, private sectors, religious and social non-governmental organisations. 
  • An additional factor that must be added diligently to disaster recovery is the integration of the health sector into pre- and post-recovery strategies and decisions.
    • Any policies and strategies to enhance India’s pre- and post-disaster resilience must also consider natural and built environments and socioeconomic systems.
    • All implementations of these strategies must leverage the pre-disaster planning to drive rapid post-disaster return to healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.
    • A shared vision of healthier, more resilient and sustainable communities must also identify the knowledge, data and research needs for assessment of hazard anticipation, risk, vulnerability, and resilience.
  • Disaster mitigation and adaptation initiatives with up-to-date information and built infrastructure must be designed to strengthen the nation’s as well each state’s and community’s ability to anticipate, deal with, resist and recover.
  • Building codes and standards and zoning laws ought to consider natural disasters and climate impacts on built infrastructure as well as crops and natural environmental assets.
  • Second ARC :-
    • The law should make provisions for stringent punishment for misutilization of funds meant for crisis/disaster management.
    • The role of the local governments should be brought to the forefront for crisis/disaster management.
  • The Four Priorities for Action according to Sendai framework need to be implemented :-
    • Priority 1. Understanding disaster risk
    • Priority 2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
    • Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
    • Priority 4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

General Studies – 4


Topic– Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration

6) “Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation”- Margaret Chase. Examine the statement in the context of present situation of public service in India.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.  .

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to carefully understand the given statement and bring out the importance of dedication to public service. It wants us to discuss as to why honesty and efficiency alone are not enough in order to become a good civil servant.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-Write a few introductory lines about the importance of honesty and efficiency in public service.

Body

Discuss in detail as to why only the above 2 values are not enough and bring out the importance of dedication to public service. E.g it determines the level of motivation of a public servant; it determines his response and attitude in difficult situations; a dedicated, efficient and an honest civil servant will perform well in all kinds of conditions; dedication to civil service helps a person overcome emotional, financial difficulties faced by him; it also instructs a person to be fair and always ready to serve the people and the nation etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Efficiency and honesty in a public servant are sine qua non for an efficient and sustainable administration. The concept of public handling over the responsibilities to sustain the society to the state itself is enough to maintain such values. The public servants are the repositories of public conscience, they secure their livelihoods and control the macro and micro economy. However these traits alone are not enough.

Dedication in public service is very necessary:-

  • Dedication means quality of involving oneself completely or applying one’s attention, time to a particular activity, cause or a person.
  • Dedication in public service is required as civil servants in India, a developing country need to perform the regular administrative and also play an important role in socio-economic development of the nation.
  • In carrying out these activities he may be faced with several obstructions like social opposition against any programme which is against their deep rooted belief, lack of support from political executive.
  • Schemes for promoting family planning are generally opposed in rural as they consider contraceptives as taboos here dedication is required to fulfil the goal of healthy society. One’s employees and superiors may be involved in corruption. These obstacles can only be overcome when one has perseverance and dedication.
  • Public service is not a goal but journey which may be non-exciting and unwanted at times, only a dedicated civil servant can remain motivated in such situations.
  • Dedication would make sense of duty an end in itself, which will be independent of assignment.